Monday, November 26, 2007

The Lightning Round -- Weekend Wrap Up

It may have been a slow holiday weekend in some contexts, but with the NFL playoff chase heating up and the Michigan coaching search perhaps reaching a surprising (and for many Michigan fans, if the reports are true, disappointing end). So let's get to it.

** Scoreboard Watching for the Wild Card ** With the Detroit Lions continuing to blow games all that's left is hoping the Lions hang on to their Wild Card lead. And as that goes, every team the Lions needed to lose Sunday, did. Arizona was upset by San Francisco, Washington lost to Tampa Bay despite knocking Jeff Garcia out of action early on, and Philadelphia lost to New England (though they made that scary late). Those losses are important because each of those teams (the Cardinals, Redskins, and Eagles) have beaten the Lions, so to make the playoffs, the Lions must finish with a better record than each of those teams. And as of today, they do. But just barely. Next week's game against Minnesota, who now is only a game back of the Lions, is a must-win game should the Lions want to salvage their season. They cannot afford to lose that game and slip into a four-game slide. What's most maddening is that despite the three game losing streak, the Lions continue to hold a slim lead for the Wild Card, which means if they would have been able to win one or two of these games, they would be in prime position to make the playoffs. Now? They have to hold on for dear life and they've showed no evidence they'll be able to maintain their grip.

** Michigan going after Ferentz, not Miles? ** While LSU's loss to Arkansas on Saturday knocked the Tigers out of the National Championship hunt, and thus makes it more likely that if Michigan wanted to hire former player, assistant, and renowned Michigan-man Les Miles, they could likely do so before LSU's Bowl Game, M-Go-Blog which first reported Lloyd Carr's retirement is now reporting sources are saying Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has been offered, and may indeed accept, the Michigan job. That groan you are hearing is coming from Ann Arbor, where Michigan fans are desperate for Les Miles or failing him an NFL coach like Jon Gruden and failing him a name like Cincinnati's Brian Kelley. And while Ferentz would be better than any of Michigan's current crop of assistants (like Lloyd Carr disciple Mike DeBord), Ferentz will not thrill anyone in Ann Arbor. While his name makes sense (he's familiar with the Big Ten, Midwest recruiting, and Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, who also came to Michigan from Iowa) he's a vanilla candidate, who may be another .500 season away from being fired from his home school, Iowa. While his Iowa teams won the Big Ten in 2002 (11-2) and 2004 (10-2) his last three seasons are 6-6, 6-7, and 6-6. His Big Ten records those seasons? 5-3, 2-6, 4-4. Underwhelming to say the least. Plus, he's making almost three million dollars a year at Iowa, so he wouldn't even be cheaper than Miles most likely. If he's the choice, and I'll have more to say if he is, it certainly won't make Ann Arbor happy, that's for sure.

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